Archive for the ‘Queensland’ Category

The Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

The Whitsunday Islands are one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos, and can excite and inspire just about every visitor. And they do – over half a million travelers visit Whitsunday each year.

Located along the Queensland coast and sandwiched between the renowned Great Barrier Reef (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and Airlie Beach on the mainland, the 74 islands offer a diversity of experiences and attractions to suit a range of budgets.  Most of the islands are wholly- or partially-designated national parks, with environments ranging from white-sand beaches to mangrove forests, marshes, rainforests, cliffs, mountains, and bushland.

Great Palm Island, Queensland

Known as Palm Island, Great Palm Island, or by its Aboriginal name “Bwgcolman,” this 64-square kilometer island is the largest in the Greater Palm group, and is located 65km north-west of Townsville in Queensland.

Palm Island was named by Captain Cook due to the cabbage tree palms growing on the island during his exploratory travels.

The Queensland government established an unofficial penal colony on the island, which operated for most of the 1900s but mostly during the 1940s and 1950s. An Aboriginal reserve was established on the island in the early 20th century.

Dunk Island, largest of the Family Islands

Dunk Island is situated just off the mainland cost from Mission Beach, south of Cairns, and within the Great Barrier Reef UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dunk Island is part of the Family Islands Group, which are known for their long spits of sand. Dunk Island is the “father” of the family – the largest, at six kilometers by two kilometers.

Three-quarters of the island is a National Park. Dunk Island’s shoreline and surrounding waters are designated a Marine Park.

The island is accessible for day trippers, but is more popular for extended stays at the island’s resort. The resort is one of Australia’s leading resorts.

Fitzroy Island, Queensland

Fitzroy Island is a continental island located within the UNESCO Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site. The island is a protected area – the Fitzroy Island National Park.

Fitzroy is known for its adventure activities and nightlife, offering an opportunity for budget travelers to experience all that the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.

History

The Gunghandji have gathered food, hunted, and held special ceremonies on the island for thousands of years.

Whitsunday Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Uninhabited Whitsunday Island is well-known for the Whitsundays’ world-famous beach – Whitehaven beach.  Comprising fine powdery white sand with 98% pure silica content, and surrounded by warm clear turquoise water, the seven-kilometer beach is picturesque. Whitehaven beach is considered to be Australia’s “most beautiful beach” according to Keep Australia Beautiful (and Australia’s most photographed beach), and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Because of this, many folks consider Whitehaven beach to be a must-see attraction, and a large number of people visit the island – the largest of the Whitsunday grouping.

Thursday Island, Torres Strait

Thursday Island is the administrative and commercial capital of the Torres Strait Islands, which total 23 islands.  The Thursday Island township is Australia’s most northern town.

Measuring just 3.5 square kilometers, the archipelago’s most developed island, endearingly called “TI”, is home to approximately 3,500 residents. Thursday Island’s residents are very diverse, including Malays, Chinese, Polynesian, and Japanese – who together outnumber European settlers.

History

Thursday Island has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Melanesian Torres Straight Islanders.  Their name for the island was Waiben, which is thought to translate to “place of no water,” due to the island’s lack of supply of fresh water.

St. Helena Island, Queensland’s most historical island

St. Helena Island is Queensland’s most historical island. Less than one square kilometer, it was the site of a prison between the 1860s and the early 1930s.  in the 1890s it was Queensland’s main maximum security prison. At its peak, the penal settlement housed 300 inmates.

The island became a National Park in 1980, but it was not until 1988 that sufficient funds were raised to restore the prison ruins.

Prison ruins remain, attracting visitors who embark on day trips to the island from Brisbane to learn about its turbulent past. Themed day and evening tours, as well as tours featuring professional actors, appeal to many school groups.

South Stradbroke Island, 27km of white sandy beaches

South Stradbroke Island – affectionately known as “South Straddie” – is a beautifully remote island. Visitors come here to get away, to enjoy nature and wildlife, and to take advantage of the 27km of white sandy beaches.

South Stradbroke Island is similar to its northern counterpart geographically (indeed, they were one island until a storm separated them at the turn of the 20th century), but the island is much less developed than North Stradbroke Island.

Natural environment

The island is 21km by 2.5km and is made up of sand dunes, rainforest, and wetlands. The island is known for its hundreds of wild wallabies, including the endemic Golden Wallaby as well as the regional Agile Wallaby.

South Molle Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

South Molle island is continental island in the Whitsundays, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is the largest of the Molle islands – North, Mid, and South Molle islands.

The island is relatively undeveloped, with no buildings taller than the island’s palm trees. There is over 400 hectares of protected national parkland on the island.

History

The island has been privately owned by the Bauer family since the 1920s, who used the land primarily for animal grazing until the resort was constructed in the 1950s.

Goldsmith Island, Smith Islands National Park

Smith Islands National Park is located within Queensland. The largest island in the National Park is Goldsmith Island. Smith Island, for which the National Park is named, is one of the smaller “triplet” islands in the Family Group of islands. The islands in the national park are the Family Island grouping, which are continental islands.

The National Park covers an area of 18.7 square kilometers. The aboriginal name for Smith Island is Kurrambah.

Natural environment

Goldsmith Island’s coastline is rocky, its land is covered by low forest and bushland (with brush box trees, as well as grasstree and wattle making up the understorey), and the northern and western coasts are ringed with long, sandy beaches.